'When We Last Shook Hands: Cover Songs Volume 1' is a collection of cover songs that Great Lake Swimmers has recorded over a period of roughly 12 years, between 2007 – 2019. Most of the songs have been released in one form or another as part of compilations, live sessions, outtakes, or album bonus tracks, but there are also a handful of tracks which are seeing the light of day here for the first time. It will be digitally released on June 5th 2020, exclusively on Bandcamp.
Sofie Winterson and I only film in musea it seems. Last year we had the honor of filming at Panorama Mesdag in The Hague - find her Unknown Mortal Orchestra cover on the website - and early 2020 we gave it another go at the Eye Film museum in Amsterdam. She had just decided to spend most of her time in Los Angeles for the forseeable future, so I figured I had to capture some more songs while I could. This time, Winterson recorded a lovely cover of Judee Sill's 'The Kiss' and an acoustic of her own killer song 'Moral'.
The summer of 2018 would soon be coming to an end, and Rachel and I had just seen two of our favourite bands – Hiss Golden Messenger and Courtney Marie Andrews - play a double bill in Ghent, Belgium, when I started talking with Andrews’ bass player. Somehow, Ole Kirkeng knew The Influences already and soon we’re talking about sessions, Buck Meek and other musicians we both like. The Norwegian songwriter lived in the United States for about six years, but soon after our meeting in Belgium moved back to Oslo just before coming to Utrecht to record this session in the exact same spot as Buck Meek a year earlier.
The Amsterdam Songwriters Guild has been around as long as I can remember and my friend Ro Halfhide is one of the people of the collective promoting the local songwriters. I visited one of their weekly open mic nights in Amsterdam some years ago, because Ryan Joseph Burns was in town and felt like playing some songs. One of the few things I remember about that night was that we drank too much and there was one performer who had us both in awe. That was Jara Holdert, who now performs as Lewin. So, a bit later Jara performed our live show in Utrecht and last January we filmed this session at Johnny Wonder's office. Lewin covered Joni Mitchell and The Beatles and played her own 'The Giant'.
Usually when I interview someone, I go in pretty well prepared. I never have questions written down or anything like that, but I’ll have read things and have an inkling of what I’d like to talk about. Not this time. I had focused mainly on filming the session with William Fitzsimmons, but when we sat down at the Backstage Hotel in Amsterdam to talk afterwards, it didn’t take much to get deep into conversation with the songwriter who was born in Pennsylvania. It started with pretty much a ten-minute monologue about his love for Tom Petty, whose 'Learning To Fly' he’d just covered.
Earlier this week I dreamed of walking through Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park. I looked at the wild squirrels, sat on a bench, ate a curry at Mother India's Cafe, strolled through the Art Gallery and had a coffee at Artisan Roast on Gibson Street. Then the coffee woke me up, and I realized I was in Utrecht, with no idea when I could visit Glasgow again. But, I did still have this session that I filmed with John Alexander, in Kelvingrove Park surrounded by blossom. We filmed Who Why When and a cover of Tom Waits' Walking Spanish.